Management Team

Stephen G. Schmitz

Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Schmitz is currently the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of America’s Specialty Finance Company (ASFC), a private boutique specialty real estate lender and investor. He has a career spanning over 30 years based upon investing and allocating capital for the benefit of both private investors and public shareholders.


Prior to founding ASFC in 2016, Mr. Schmitz was Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of American Residential Properties, Inc (NYSE: ARPI) and its predecessor and affiliates from 2008-2016. He was one of the first in the nation to recognize that just as the credit bubble in residential housing of 2005-2006 was an aberration, so too was the subsequent crash in 2008. He saw that it was an overcorrection, and that ultimately all things revert to the mean. Over the ensuing seven years, ARPI raised over $600 million of equity and $800 million of debt through various entities, ultimately purchasing and managing over 9,000 single family homes in twelve states. In early 2016 ARPI was purchased by American Homes 4 Rent (NYSE: AMH) which is the largest publicly traded Single Family Rental REIT.

Before starting ARPI, Mr. Schmitz spent fifteen years with Franchise Finance Corporation of America (FFCA), a company formed to provide sale-leaseback and mortgage capital to the chain restaurant industry. Originally structured as a series of Public Limited Partnerships, FFCA was converted to a REIT in 1993 and listed on the NYSE with Mr. Schmitz becoming Chief Investment Officer. The firm was ultimately purchased by GE Capital.

Mr. Schmitz earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the Franklin University, and an MBA from the Pennsylvania State University. He is an accomplished public speaker and author of the book: “Whatever-it-Takes. How we went from the Back Patio to the NYSE in Five Years.”

Victoria Zehnder

Director of Adminstration

Ms. Zehnder has over 20 years of administrative experience. She joined American Residential Properties in 2014 where she worked directly with Mr. Schmitz. She also handled the firm’s investor relations communications. Prior to ARPI, Ms. Zehnder worked for Cole Real Estate Investments, a national real estate investment company based in Phoenix, Arizona. At America’s Specialty Finance Company, Ms. Zehnder handles servicing of ASFC’s loans as well as the administration and business management needs of the company. Ms. Zehnder attended Bowling Green State University.

John P. Gabriel


Mr. Gabriel’s career spans nearly 20 years. He has an accounting and finance background and has worked in a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail and semi-conductor. Mr. Gabriel joined American Residential Properties in March of 2012 and served as Controller for Phoenix Fund I. He has worked with Mr. Schmitz for the past five years. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University.

Matthew F. Jandera

Loan Originations

Mr. Jandera has a diversified real estate background. He started years ago as a licensed traditional mortgage broker. From there he moved into a position where he was in charge of loan origination for hard money commercial loans. His role was expanded to include property management of an investment portfolio. Eventually, Mr. Jandera also built and grew a company branch responsible for residential property wholesale acquisition and sales of the newly acquired homes to investors. Mr. Jandera then moved on to open his own wholesale and brokerage business.

This new venture was brief as he was then given the opportunity to join America’s Specialty Finance Company. Here he returns to his sale roots, originating hard money loans for real estate investment. Mr. Jandera has a degree in Economics from Colorado State University.

Michelle Giegling

Loan Adminstration

Ms. Giegling has a loan closing and paralegal background. She worked under Mr. Schmitz’s team at both Franchise Finance Corporation of America and GE Capital where she coordinated with sales account executives and risk underwriters to execute the closing process for large commercial transactions. There she leveraged her knowledge of title, appraisals and legal documents. She was recently given the opportunity to again work with Mr. Schmitz at America’s Specialty Finance Company in the capacity of closing loans that are in compliance with company policies as well as requirements at the state and local levels. Ms. Giegling received her Associates of Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from Iowa Lakes Community College.

Key Advisors

Steven E. Bandler,

Partner, Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co, LLP

Mr. Bandler provides accounting advice and services to ASFC. Mr. Bandler’s firm was the auditor and tax advisor for ARP Phoenix Fund I. Mr. Bandler has over 20 years of expertise in developing, coordinating, supervising and managing financial, tax and business advisory services for clients in the personal service, entertainment, real estate, construction, manufacturing and distribution industries, among others. Mr. Bandler earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and JD degrees from the University of Arizona.